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J Biomol Tech. 2008 July; 19(3): 147–150.
PMCID: PMC2563925

Highlights of Association for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Meeting During Experimental Biology 2008

The Experimental Biology (EB) 2008 meeting was held at the San Diego Convention Center in California from April 5th to 9th, 2008. The meeting was jointly sponsored by the American Association of Anatomists (AAA), the American Association of Immunologists (AAI), the American Physiological Society (APS), the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP), the American Society for Nutrition (ASN), and the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET).

The meeting registration as of April 7th, 2008, was 15,397 attendees. The breakdown was as follows: 6372 members, 141 retired members, 2727 nonmembers, 1379 graduate student members, 1728 graduate student non-members, 157 high school students, 104 high school teachers, 709 undergraduate students, 1686 exhibitors, 294 guests of exhibitors, 71 guests of scientists, and 29 members of the press. The joint EB conference has expanded to provide a common venue where investigators, teachers, students, postdoctoral fellows, the manufacturers of equipment or providers of services, and publishers share and exchange their research, hypotheses, new techniques, and laboratory equipment. Since I am an ASBMB member, I mainly attended the talks organized by ASBMB.

The meeting opened on Saturday evening with an ASBMB lecture and the Herbert Tabor/JBC Lectureship keynote address “DNA Replication and Latency in Herpes Simplex Viruses,” delivered by I.R. Lehman of Stanford University Medical School. The lecture was followed by the ASBMB opening reception and dance.

The meeting began on Sunday with the Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry Plenary Lecture “Genome-wide Mapping of Gene Expression in the Adult Mouse Brain,” delivered by R.B. Puchalski of the Allen Institute for Brain Science (Seattle, WA), and the Schering-Plough Research Institute Award lecture “RNA Catalysis: Ribozymes, Ribosomes and Riboswitch,” delivered by S. Strobe of Yale University.

After the plenary lecture, several parallel morning symposia covering a number of topics were held at the San Diego Convention Center: the symposium G-Whizards of GPCR/G–Protein Signaling, “Signal Transduction,” chaired by L.E. Limbird of Mehary Medical College; the symposium Chromatin Regulation of DNA Replication of DNA Repair, Recombination, and Genome Stability, “Dynamic Chromatin and Gene Expression,” chaired by X. Shen of the MD Anderson Cancer Center; the symposium Riboregulation, “Small RNAs and Dynamic Elements,” chaired by J.A. Goodrich of the University of Colorado at Boulder; the symposium Protein Turnover and Quality Control, “Protein Synthesis and Turnover,” chaired by R.Y. Hampton; the symposium Helicases, “Form and Function: Of Molecular Machines,” chaired by T. Ha of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; the symposium Global Systems Biology: Parts, chaired by F. Roth of Harvard Medical School; the symposium Live Imaging of Developmental Processes, “The Photochemical Society,” chaired by R.P. Meacham of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research (Kansas City); the symposium Signaling in Diseases and Therapy, “Signal Transduction,” chaired by J.Y.J Wang of the University of California, San Diego; and the symposium Drug Discovery in Academic Settings: Is There a Role for Academic Scientists in Early Drug Discovery?, chaired by P.J. Conan of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The morning symposia were followed by the ASBMB Award for Exemplary Contributions to Education lecture “The Meyerhoff Scholar: A Stem Diversity Program That Really Works,” delivered by M.F. Summers of the University of Maryland; and two special sessions—Translational Development in University Settings: Moving University Innovation Toward the Development and Commercialization of Biomedical Products, organized by A.S. Dams of the Alfred E. Mann Foundation for Biomedical Engineering and J. Watson of the Von Liebig Center for Commercialization (University of California, San Diego), and the session Education and Professional Development, “Classroom of the Future, III, Discussion Session,” chaired by A.J. Wolfsan of Wellesley College.

The afternoon sessions began with the William C. Rose Award lecture “Cell Signaling in Space and Time,” delivered by J.D. Scott of Oregon Health and Science Center University. The afternoon parallel symposia began with the ASBMB-ASPET symposium G12/13 Signaling of Cell Surface Receptors: Molecular Insights and Disease Context, “Signal Transduction,” chaired by S. Siehler of Novartis Pharma AG, Basel; the symposium DNA Replication Mechanisms, “Genome Dynamics: Replication, Recombination and Damage Response,” chaired by L.S. Kaguni of Michigan State University; the symposium Regulation of Nuclear RNA Metabolism, “RNA-Mediated Gene Expression,” chaired by L.E. Maquat; the symposium Protein Interaction, “Biomolecular Catalysis, Folding and Design,” chaired by V.L. Schramm; the symposium Metabolism and Diabetes, “Metabolism,” chaired by D.G. Hardie of the University of Dundee (United Kingdom); the symposium Cell Division, “Cell and Organelle Dynamics,” chaired by T.D. Pollard; the symposium Tissue-Specific Regulation of Lipid Metabolism, “Lipid Signaling Metabolism,” chaired by J.M. Ntambi of the University of Wisconsin–Madison; the symposium New Strategies for Imaging Protein Localization and Dynamics, “Chemical Biology,” chaired by J. Zhang of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; the symposium Laser Capture Microdissection for Molecular Analysis, organized by the Histochemical Society and chaired by T.N. Wight of the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason and D.G. Baskin of the University of Washington School of Medicine; and the symposium Health Disparities in Alzheimer’s Disease: Advances in Understanding Disease Pathogenesis, organized by Minority Affairs.

The Monday session began with the Avanti Award in Lipids Lecture “PHLiPPing the Switch in Lipid Second Messenger Signaling,” delivered by A.C. Newton of the University of California, San Diego. Following the lecture were the parallel symposia beginning with the symposium DNA Damage Response and the Cell Cycle, “Genome Dynamics: Replication, Recombination and Damage Response,” chaired by P.B. Burgers of the Washington University School of Medicine; the symposium Ribonucleoproteins, “RNA-Mediated Gene Expression,” chaired by A. Ephrussi of the European Molecular Biology Organization; the symposium Enzyme as Drug Targets, “Biomolecular Catalysis, Folding and Design,” chaired by S.J. Benkovic of Pennsylvania State University; the symposium Metabolism and Cancer, “Metabolism,” chaired by M. Johnson of Washington University; the symposium Intracellular Dynamics, “Cell and Organelle Dynamics,” chaired by L.S. Weisman of the University of Michigan; the symposium Lipid and Control of Gene Expression, “Lipid Signaling and Metabolism,” chaired by S. Jackowski of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; the symposium Chemical Perspectives in Neurobiology, “Chemical Biology,” chaired by B.M. Olivera of the University of Utah; the symposium Phenoms in the Phenome: Experts in Cellular Imaging from Single Molecules to Mice, organized by the Histochemical Society and chaired by D. E. Rosa-Mollinar of the University of Puerto Rico and R. Levenson of Cambridge Research and Instrumentation; and the symposium CNS Diseases: Depression and Anxiety, organized by Minority Affairs and chaired by M. Milla of Roche Pharmaceuticals. During lunchtime two workshops were held; one on advocacy training for ASBMB members, organized by the ASBMB Public Affairs Committee, and the second on research funding by the American Cancer Society, organized by the Education and Professional Development Committee.

The Monday afternoon sessions began with the ASB-MBñMerck Award lecture “Beyond the Double Helix: Reading and Writing the Histone Code,” delivered by C.D. Allis of Rockefeller University. Allis presented an exciting lecture on mechanisms that modulate the structure of nucleosomes and elaborated that histones, particularly their highly modified tail segments, are the most conserved proteins in nature. He emphasized the role of covalent histone modifications, the utilization of histone variants, and chromatin remodeling by ATP-dependent complexes in the structure of chromatin fibers and regulation of gene expression. The afternoon sessions related to the award lecture were divided into several symposia: the symposium Chromatin Structure in Gene Activation and Dynamic Chromatin and Gene Expression, chaired by Y. Shi of Harvard Medical School; the symposium Dynamic RNA Structure, “Small RNAs and Dynamic RNA Elements,” chaired by R.T. Batey of the University of Colorado at Boulder; the symposium Protein Turnover in Cell Regulation, “Protein Synthesis and Turnover,” chaired by N. Zheng of the University of Washington; the symposium Replication, “Form and Function: Of Molecular Machines,” chaired by M. OíDonnell of Rockefeller University; the symposium Global Systems Biology: The Relationships, “Systems Biology,” chaired by B.J. Andrews of the University of Toronto; the ASBMB-ASPET joint symposium Growth Regulation, “Signal Transduction,” chaired by K.-L. Guan of the University of California, San Diego; and the symposium Targets for Drug Discovery: Has Target-Based Screening Failed for Antibacterials?, “Drug Discovery,” chaired by S.J. Projan of Wyeth Research. At the conclusion of the Monday afternoon symposia, seven ASBMB Scientific Thematic Receptions were held at 5.30 PM. at the convention center. Also held was the workshop “Writing Your First Grant Application,” organized by the Education and Professional Development Committee and chaired by P. Chitnis of the National Science Foundation.

Tuesday’s sessions began with the FASEB Excellence in Science Award Lecture “Of Extracellular Matrix, the Genome, and the Microenvironment in Breast Cancer: No Cell Is an Island,” delivered by M.J. Bissell of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and sponsored by an educational grant from Eli Lilly. The morning parallel symposia covered a number of topics: the symposium Chromatin Changes in Development, “Dynamic Chromatin and Gene Expression,” chaired by B.R. Cairns of the University of Utah; the symposium Emerging Non-Coding RNA World, “Small RNAs and Dynamic RNA Elements,” chaired by T.R. Gingeras of Affymatrix; the symposium Mechanisms of Protein Synthesis, “Protein Synthesis and Turnover,” chaired by J.H. Cate of the University of CaliforniañBerkeley; the symposium Gene Expression, “Form and Function: Of Molecular Machines,” chaired by S.M. Block of Stanford University; the symposium Global System Biology: Dynamics, “Systems Biology,” chaired by R.B. Brem of the University of CaliforniañBerkeley; the symposium Post-Translational Modifications, “Signal Transduction,” chaired by K. Orth of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; and the symposium Targets for Drug Discovery: Nuclear Hormone Receptors, “Drug Discovery,” chaired by L.P. Freedman of Wyeth Research. A special session, the Minority Scientistsí Networking Luncheon, was organized by Minority Affairs.

The Tuesday afternoon session began with the Herbert A. Sober Lectureship Award lecture, “How Proteins Fold Deciphered by Hydrogen Exchange,” delivered by W. Englander of the University of Pennsylvania. The afternoon sessions were as follows: the symposium Double-Stranded Breaks and DNA Recombination, “Genome Dynamics: Replication, Recombination and Damage Response,” chaired by M.M. Cox of the University of WisconsinñMadison; the symposium RNA Transport and Localization, “RNA-Mediated Gene Expression,” chaired by W.F. Marzluff; the symposium Energetics and Design, “Biomolecular Catalysis, Folding, and Design,” chaired by L.M. Gierasch of the University of Massachusetts; the symposium Metabolism and Neurodegeneration, “Metabolism,” chaired by J. Milbrandt of Washington University; the symposium Cell Migration, “Cell and Organelle Dynamics,” chaired by A. Hall of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; the symposium Stress and Lipid Metabolism, “ Lipid Signaling and Metabolism,” chaired by J.E. Schaffer of Washington University; the symposium Small Molecule Control of Protein Folding and Assembly, “Chemical Biology,” chaired by A.K. Mapp of the University of Michigan; the ASBMB-ASPET joint symposium Integration of Second Messenger Signaling, “Signal Transduction,” chaired by S.S. Taylor and A.C. Newton of the University of California, San Diego; the symposium Integrating Discovery and Applications, “Minority Affairs,” chaired by C.E. Camerand of Pennsylvania State University and J.C. Nwachukwu of the New York University School of Medicine.

The day ended with seven ASBMB Scientific Thematic Receptions, and the Special Session ASBMB Women Scientistsí Networking Reception, “Education and Professional Development,” chaired by A.J. Wolfsan of Wellesley College. The remainder of the scientific program on the final day was organized into fifteen parallel symposia. The day began with the ASBMB-ASPET joint symposium on signal transduction, “A Century of Development of Concepts of Ion Channel Receptors: Past Milestones and Contemporary Developments for the Next Decade,” chaired by P.W. Taylor of the University of California, San Diego; the symposium DNA Repair and Mechanisms, “Genome Dynamics: Replication, Recombination, and Damage Response,” chaired by T. Ellenberger of Washington University; the symposium RNA Turnover, “RNA-Mediated Gene Expression,” chaired by M.P. Wickens; the symposium Macromolecular Folding and Fluctuations, “Biomolecular Catalysis, Folding and Design,” chaired by S. Marqusee; the symposium Metabolic Networks, “Metabolism,” chaired by B.O. Palsson of the University of California, San Diego; the symposium Pathogen Exploitation of Host Machinery, “Cell and Organelle Dynamics,” chaired by M.D. Welch of the University of CaliforniañBerkeley; the symposium Lipids and Inflammation, “Lipid Signaling and Metabolism,” chaired by A.R. Tall of Columbia University Medical Center; the symposium Chemical Probes and Their Use in Identifying New Therapeutic Targets, “Chemical Biology,” chaired by L.L. Kiessling of the University of WisconsinñMadison; the symposium Drug Abuse, sponsored by Minority Affairs and chaired by P.A. Oritz of Empire State College; the symposium Non-Coding RNAs in Gene Regulation and Chromosome Structure, “Dynamic chromatin and Gene Expression,” chaired by D. Moazed of Harvard Medical School; the symposium Roles for Small Non-Coding RNAs, “Small RNAs and Dynamic RNA Elements,” chaired by F.J. Slack of Yale University; the symposium Protein-Assisted Folding and Misfolding, “Protein Synthesis and Turnover,” chaired by J. Frydman of Stanford University; the symposium Filament Dynamics, “Form and Function: Of Molecular Machines,” chaired by E. Nogales of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and the symposium Local Systems Biology: Subsystems and Simulation, “Systems Biology,” chaired by T.G. Ideker of the University of California, San Diego. The day ended with the ASBMB-ASPET joint symposium G Proteins and Protein Kinases, “Signal Transduction,” chaired by K.J. Blumer of the Washington University School of Medicine.

The scientific sessions were punctuated by the numerous scientific poster sessions from Sunday through Tuesday from 12.15 PM to 2.15 PM in the Exhibit Hall of the San Diego Convention Center. Since the Molecular Interactions Research Group (MIRG) poster was not submitted prior to the conference deadline, I requested that the meeting manager provide a poster spot to present the MIRG 2007 survey study poster. They provided a poster board (C-71) in the nutritional section, which was presented on Monday, April 7 from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM, with several of the participants stopping by to review the survey. The Exhibit Hall also had booths for over 350 companies displaying their latest and best tools, resources, and books and journals for meeting participants from a wide spectrum of fields in experimental biology.


Articles from Journal of Biomolecular Techniques : JBT are provided here courtesy of The Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities